A few months ago, we tested out Mercedes-Benz’s EQE SUV, the German automaker’s newest midsize electric vehicle. It was a solid performer—not exactly exciting but comfortable and equipped with one of the industry’s best infotainment systems. Now it has been given the AMG treatment, worked over by Mercedes’ in-house tuning division. There are some subtle styling tweaks, suspension upgrades, and new AMG-specific electric motors that increase power to 677 hp (505 kW). But has the makeover from Affalterbach managed to infuse more excitement into the EQE SUV recipe?
You can tell you’re looking at the Mercedes-AMG EQE SUV and not the regular Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV in a couple of different ways. The black panel at the front is new, with chromed vertical strakes that call to mind the radiator grilles on air-breathing AMGs. The front bumper is sportier, and gloss black accents are used in place of chrome, as well as on the aerodynamic bits like the various air vents and diffusers.
There’s an AMG badge on the hood in place of the usual three-pointed star, and the highlight of the AMG treatment, to me at least, was the black 21-inch AMG alloy wheels, which come wrapped in EV-specific Michelin Pilot Sport tires. But overall, the tweaks are subtle and unlikely to be noticed by a casual observer.
If you disassembled an AMG EQE SUV, at the front and rear axles, you would find slightly different permanently excited electric motors to the ones that propel the regular EQE SUV, with new windings and laminations. Modified inverters and a higher current translate to a higher motor speed, and there’s also increased cooling—including a liquid-cooled rotor shaft—to allow for repeated hard acceleration without running into thermal problems. There’s also a standard heat pump.
Power and torque peak at 677 hp and 738 lb-ft (1,000 Nm), although only in the “race start” mode—effectively launch control—with the boost function active. Without the boost, power is capped at 617 hp (460 kW) in race start and sport+; sport mode gives you 555 hp (414 kW), comfort limits this to 493 hp (368 kW), and should you need the slippery-surface setting, the AMG EQE SUV restricts you to just 308 hp (230 kW)—50 percent power.
The battery is composed of 360 lithium-ion pouch cells, with an AMG-specific wiring harness and energy-management software. It has a usable capacity of 90.6 kWh, and it can DC fast-charge at up to 170 kW. Charging times and an EPA range won’t be available until closer to the car’s arrival in the US in Q3 2023, however. Driving on a mix of back roads and then the highway from San Diego to Santa Monica, I averaged about 2.5 miles/kWh (24.9 kWh/100 km).
Yet more work has been performed on the suspension. The AMG EQE SUV has new adaptive dampers, wheel carriers, suspension links, and electromechanical roll bars that can be decoupled for comfort or stiffened to improve handling, depending on one’s mood. As you might expect, the suspension is firmer in sport and sport+, which also lowers the ride by 0.6 inches (15 mm). (This also happens in Comfort if you exceed 75 mph/121 kmh.) Mercedes has also chosen to fit rear-wheel steering as standard for US-spec AMG EQE SUVs; this can steer at up to 9 degrees, turning with the direction of the front wheels above 37 mph (60 km/h) for greater stability, and in the opposite direction to the fronts below that threshold to increase agility.
On roads and highways in California, the AMG EQE SUV’s ride felt noticeably stiffer than the normal EQE SUV, particularly over expansion gaps. There was a fair amount of road noise, too, although in sport and sport+ modes the powertrain makes growly noises that remind you you’re driving something with a lot of oomph. And it does have plenty of oomph in those modes—easily enough to pin you as a passenger to the back of your seat should the driver give it full throttle. In a racing start with the boost, you can expect to hit 60 mph in about 3.4 seconds.